Marlon Hill is an attorney and partner with the firm of Hamilton, Miller and Birthisel. He is a Miami Fellows (Class I) alum, inaugural Ruth Shack Leadership Award honoree and a past Foundation trustee. He shared how his Fellows experience shaped his Miami story, and the legacy of civic leadership and engagement he seeks to leave in Greater Miami. 

My Miami story is that of a young kid from Kingston, Jamaica who tries to find his way, understand a new culture, and eventually settle in to find a purpose. It is one about assimilating, acclimating and integrating into the new community –and making a contribution that is exponential.

After returning to Miami from law school at Florida State University, I knew that I wanted to continue working with students of immigrant descent, especially those from the Caribbean. I was looking for ways to get more deeply connected with the community, and I heard about an emerging leadership program called the Miami Fellows at The Miami Foundation.

The fellowship appealed to me so I applied, and when I first got the call as a finalist, I was grateful just to get an interview. To share my story, to talk about who I am and what I care about here in Miami was a great opportunity in and of itself. I met with a panel of four community leaders and Foundation President Emeritus Ruth Shack. I was honored when they selected me as one of 18 emerging leaders for the Miami Fellows’ inaugural class.

The program gave us a sense of what our community was all about and our role in it. Over the next two years, we completed hands-on labs, interacting with various parts of our local community and internationally in Brazil. We met with community leaders, business executives and elected officials. We learned about ethical leadership, negotiating and fundraising. We explored complex issues such as the local politics of race and ethnicity. We discussed important civic issues and ways to solve them in Greater Miami. At the same time, a little kid named Elian Gonzalez had just arrived here, and our community was debating whether to send him back to Cuba or allow him to stay. As colleagues, we talked about the complicated issues that arose from the unfolding story. It was a historic time, and the Miami Fellows program gave me a full picture of what shapes a city like ours.

My time with the Fellows, 1999 to 2001, was a huge turning point for me, and I knew then that I would live in Miami for the rest of my life. Since completing the program, I started my own law firm, served on a number of different boards as a corporate lawyer, written several op-eds for different newspapers and began a radio program to exercise my voice and have a greater impact. All that came because of the space for self-discovery that the Miami Fellows gave me.

As a Fellow, you build the confidence and courage to civically engage in your community. A leadership development program like this has a residual impact 10 or 20 years later. The professional growth of the Miami Fellows experience – whether they start a business, get appointed to a board or run for elected office – is a direct result of the skills they gain and relationships they build.

When I started my own law firm, my wife Carla was going through a medical crisis and she had a successful kidney transplant at Jackson Memorial Hospital. A few years later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The Miami Foundation helped us start the Carla Hill and Hazel Bethel Breast Cancer Awareness and Organ Donation Fund using money from a birthday party. Now, the Fund helps provide more women access to mammograms and raise awareness of the high impact that breast cancer has on young women of color.

I hope that in 50 years we have a community that communicates more and invests in each other. Philanthropy is democratic. I learned that it doesn’t matter if you have millions, or if you have hundreds. Every citizen in Greater Miami can make an impact to transform this community. Each of us must engage. Whether we engage with our talent, with our checkbook, or with our time, at the end of the day, Miami will only be as great as the investment we make in it.

Marlon Hill is a partner with Hamilton, Miller and Birthisel and a former Foundation trustee.

  • Josee Gregoire
    Posted at 19:03h, 24 July

    Marlon, your comments are definitely apropos regarding the impact the Miami Fellows can have on the individual.

  • Donna Campbell
    Posted at 21:43h, 29 July

    I absolutely agree with your last statement ” I learned that it doesn’t matter if you have millions, or if you have hundreds. Every citizen in Greater Miami can make an impact to transform this community. Each of us must engage. Whether we engage with our talent, with our checkbook, or with our time, at the end of the day, Miami will only be as great as the investment we make in it.” If we can all just get that and act on it!!! ??????

  • Karen Davis
    Posted at 12:19h, 30 September

    Hi Marlon! I’m so happy to be joining this group of hosts for the Miami My Stories. Thanks for all you do in the community.

    Posted at 13:37h, 10 May

    […] SOURCE […]

  • cheapest web hosting in uk
    Posted at 01:43h, 21 March

    This is really fascinating, You are a very skilled blogger.
    I have joined your rss feed and look forward to in quest of extra of your fantastic post.

    Additionally, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

    Posted at 16:06h, 21 March

    You made some really good points there. I checked on the net to find
    out more about the issue and found most individuals will
    go along with your views on this website.

    Posted at 13:30h, 23 March

    I need to to thank you for this fantastic read!!
    I definitely loved every little bit of it.

    I’ve got you saved as a favorite to look at new stuff you post…

    Posted at 01:40h, 24 March

    Hello, i think that i saw you visited my weblog thus
    i came to “return the favor”.I am trying to find things to improve
    my site!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

    Posted at 21:56h, 24 March

    Hello there! This article couldn’t be written any better!
    Going through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept preaching about this. I most certainly will
    send this post to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a good read.
    Many thanks for sharing!

  • best CBD oil for pain
    Posted at 20:30h, 26 March

    Every weekend i used to visit this site, as i want enjoyment, as this this web site conations actually good funny stuff too.

  • best CBD oil for pain
    Posted at 21:09h, 26 March

    If you want to grow your know-how only keep visiting this site and be updated with the newest news
    posted here.

  • best CBD oil for pain
    Posted at 21:37h, 26 March

    Touche. Great arguments. Keep up the good effort.

The Miami Foundation
Translate »